I have seen some sentences where 一会儿 (yīhuìr), meaning in a while / in a moment, is placed before the verb and in some others, after the verb.

Is there some rule for deciding the position, are both positions fine or the position depends on the particular case and is somewhat idiomatic?

Some examples:

  • Before the verb


    Wǒmen yīhuìr jiàn!

    See you later!


    yīhuìr qù zhǎo nǐ。

    I'll look for you in a while.

  • After the verb


    Máng shénme, zài zuò yīhuìr ba.

    What's the hurry? Stay a bit longer.


    Shāo děng yīhuìr.

    Please wait a moment.

  • 1
    In your third example, 一会儿 does not mean "in a while/in a moment". That should give you a hint.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 16, 2020 at 9:30
  • @dROOOze was the fourth example wrong? I took it from the Line dictionary.
    – Puco4
    Aug 16, 2020 at 9:42
  • 2
    IMO "少等一会儿" is wrong, it should be "稍等一会儿". Looks like a typo. If enough people think "少等一会儿" is OK you can revert the edit, but I've never seen this expression before.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 16, 2020 at 9:46
  • @dROOOze 少等一会儿 can be valid in the example, 如果我早来十分钟,你就可以'少'等一会儿。The opposite is 多等一会儿, e. g. 让他多等一会儿. But 少等一会儿 standalone doesn't look a complete sentence.
    – dan
    Aug 16, 2020 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


The meaning just differs.

When 一会儿 is used as an adverbial, i.e. before a verb, it means "in a while", "shortly". It's understood that the action to be set in the future.

别着急,公交车一会儿就来了 = don't worry, the bus will arrive shortly

When 一会儿 is used as a complement, i.e. after a verb, it means "a little while", or "a little longer" if 再 is present. It identifies a time duration.

我想看一会儿电视 = I want to watch a bit of TV

  • Certain grammar systems would call it a complement in either position, and others (and even the same), an adverbial in either position, but in any event, of course you have the meanings correct for the two different positions. A simple way to distinguish them is "in a while" before the verb versus "for a while" after.
    – RJH
    Sep 13, 2021 at 4:23

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